Another Riff on the Self

May 31, 2007

So, I’m totally going for a post a day quota for this summer. I don’t know how long that will last [or really if you would want it to], but there’s only one way to find out. And besides, you gotta keep busy!

Today’s topic: your self. It’s neither yours, nor a self. Discuss!

Okay, but seriously. This is apparently this body-minds philosophical / practical question of the moment. And I’ve probably beat this dead horse to the point that I got its heart beating again. Maybe that’s why I should talk about it again.

I don’t have any new angles. Yet. Well, maybe a little one. Namely, I’ve been thinking a lot about how one would go about living in the world without a self [or in more typical terms, without an ego]. I mean, the person wouldn’t be a zombie. That would be pre-ego, not post-ego [and there’s no going back!]. Which got me to thinking more about some of the realizations I’ve had lately, and in the past, about how everyone lives in the center of their own universe. I don’t know if it’s possible to realize that maybe you’re life isn’t the most important, interesting, original, etc., on the planet. I don’t know if that would make any biological sense [well, altruism does, so I stand corrected]. But I imagine that would be what enlightenment is like. Because enlightenment basically just means realizing that, experientially [not cognitively, like I have down pat], there is no self. At least, no nuclear self that somehow everything revolves around.

I keep coming back to this problem because it seems to me like the most important one that a person can face. At the same time, if there is no qualitative difference between someone who realizes this and someone who doesn’t, is all the hand-wringing really worth it? It’s similar to the difference between a [healthy morally] Christian and an [healthy morally] Atheist. Both worldviews lead to near identical behavioral patterns. Though in the end one may be MORE true [atheism, hack cough…], maybe that doesn’t matter as long as they lead to the same end [moral action, empathy, altruism, contemplation, etc.].

Hrmph. I’m listening to a podcast about nonviolence [from a class at UC Berkeley {dude, they have an entire class on nonviolence at UCB… that’s f’in sweet!}]. The professor talks about a class on meditation and how he wanted to get it approved as a lab class for the nonviolence course. Needless to say, it didn’t pan through with the powers that be [even the ‘liberal’ academics, well the administration at least, are light years behind the times]. But it’s a novel idea. That meditation is to life what labs are to science. In which case, this entire post is just smoke and mirrors. All I need to do is sit.

So sit I will. But while you’re still at your computer, check out this little campaign. You’d think it were a jest. But no. It’s for real. Narcissism probably is the leading cause of death in the world. Go figure.

I totally gotta make me a bumper sticker from that campaign. And one for “God _less America.” Sweet!

PS – Dude, I still can’t get over Eve. That was totally worth all the thousands of years of our fallen state. Right on, brother!

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One Response to “Another Riff on the Self”

  1. dave in the back said

    What does realizing that there is no self allow you to do that it’s so important. To me, this seems to be a mundane and uninteresting fact.

    It’s almost like I know that there is no purpose for me to live, that purpose is created by myself and reinforced by others.

    Viewing life as containing a self is like using a model to help plan your daily activities. And that’s exactly what it is. When you have a sense of self, you do things that are good for your body. You eat healthily, work harder, and care more about things that are happening in your life.

    One thing I do agree with is how hott Eve is though.

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